"How much do state dinners cost? They ain't cheap" teased a headline on CBSNews.com this morning. But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there's more.
In his February 11 story, longtime CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported not only the pretty penny the U.S. taxpayer foots for state dinners in the Obama era, but how the Obama State Department -- first under Clinton and continuing under John Kerry -- has been less than forthcoming about the cost. Knoller had to resort to a Freedom of Information Act request and House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been given the cold shoulder altogether (story excerpted in full, emphases mine):
From the teaser headline, it sounds like a promising, positive story about a Colorado woman's crusade for justice for her unborn son, whose life was taken by a drunken driver. [see screen capture below page break]
But being an NBCNews.com story, apologists for the abortion industry had to be given significant room for rebuttal.
A Christian man was savagely killed Sunday morning by a Muslim lynch mob in Central African Republic, right in front of a Washington Post reporter. "They cut his neck like a cow," Post reporter Sudarsan Raghavan quoted a relative of the victim, Polin Pumandele.
Post print edition editors assigned the story to page A6, giving it a rather bland headline, "Solutions elusive as sectarian violence spreads." By contrast, earlier this morning, WashingtonPost.com editors promoted the story prominently on the paper's landing page, using "They cut his neck like a cow' as the teaser headline and accompanying it with a photo of women mourning his death (see image below the page break):
A cyber security expert featured on the February 4 NBC Nightly News is alleging that producers edited the story in such a way as to sensationalize the threat that tourists at the Olympic Games in Sochi face from hackers.
Hadas Gold of Politico has the story in a piece at the paper's On Media blog:
The spokeswoman who helped circle the wagons for then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the aftermath of Benghazi recently found herself in a fresh controversy over a leaked phone conversation in which she exclaimed "F**k the EU!" in reference to the European Union's stake in negotiations regarding internal strife in Ukraine.
Desperately working to keep his patient from bleeding out, the Washington Post's William Branigin set about emergency surgery on ObamaCare's public perception in his February 6 page A4 article, "CBO director: Health law will boost employment."
"Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf testified Wednesday that the new health-care law will spur employment by boosting overall demand for goods and services," Branigin approvingly opened his 7-paragraph story, explaining that the chief of the nonpartisan CBO was "answering questions from Democrats who were trying to counter claims by Republicans that the Affordable Care Act will cost jobs."
Yesterday afternoon three red state Democratic senators -- plus Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) -- joined a number of Republican legislators and the Canadian ambassador to the United States at a press conference called to publicly press President Obama to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Such a show of bipartisan and international agreement on an economic-development issue is surely worthy of attention by the broadcast news media, and yet ABC, CBS, and NBC all ignored the development on both the February 4 evening newscasts and the February 5 morning news shows. Here's how Matthew Daly of the Associated Press reported the development in his Tuesday afternoon piece, "Broad coalition backs Keystone XL oil pipeline" (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday, staunchly liberal Rep. Robert Andrews (N.J.) -- lifetime ACU score of 13.5 -- announced he's retiring from Congress. For his part, reporter Jason Horowitz of the New York Times noted in the lead paragraph of his Wednesday morning print article that the 12-term Democratic congressman's legacy was dogged by his "alleged misuse of his campaign funds."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report this morning projecting among other things, that 2.5 million Americans will drop out of full-time work thanks to ObamaCare. We will, of course, track how the broadcast networks cover this story, but if the news websites for ABC, CBS, and NBC are any indication, they will downplay and/or heavily spin this development.
For its part, for example, ABCNews.com teased a February 4 AP story with the headline "Modest Drop in Full-Time Work Seen From Health Law" in their "latest news" sidebar. By contrast, CBSNews.com was front and center with the CBO story, their teaser headline declaring, "New report stokes debate on Obamacare, jobs" [see screen captures below page break]
Update/Clarification:Whitaker erroneously described the interview as the unedited version of the interview done on the FOX broadcast network. It is, in fact, a second interview which was taped subsequent to the live aired interview on Sunday. || Just how in the tank is MSNBC for Barack Obama? To the extent that the president hectoring Fox News's Bill O'Reilly for being "unfair" is considered news worthy of top billing on the network's website. [see screen capture below page break]
"Obama blasts O'Reilly in extended interview," cheers the teaser headline for the first item in the lightbox at msnbc.com this morning. Clicking on the link takes you to Morgan Whitaker's 19-paragraph summary of the content of the full, unedited interview which O'Reilly taped prior to the Super Bowl. Here's an excerpt (emphasis mine):
You could call it bias-by-boring-headline. This typically happens when liberal Democrats do something scandalous or at the very least questionable and a major newspaper covers the story and publishes it, but headline editors give it such a milquetoast headline as to essentially tell the reader,"You'll fall asleep reading this. Move along."
That's essentially the case with the Washington Post's headline* this morning for a story about how Democratic state legislators in Maryland are circling the wagons to protect 2014 gubernatorial front-runner Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) from a steady stream of bad ObamaCare-related news which could sink his chances for the Democratic nomination and/or the governor's office in November.
Imagine, if you will, it's the midterm election year of 2006 and President George W. Bush's secretary of state making careless remarks which seem to lend moral validity to an economic boycott of the United States's staunchest ally in the Middle East. The Washington Post would surely glom onto such an embarrassing gaffe and play it up as much as possible.
Yet when John Kerry made such remarks about the State of Israel, the Post's William Booth spun the gaffe as best he could, seemingly exasperated that Israeli statesmen were even complaining about the remarks. For their part, Booth's bosses dutifully shuffled to story to page A8 of the February 3 edition, rather than give it more prominent coverage (emphasis mine):
Yesterday my colleague Scott Whitlock noted how the CBS This Morning program had sidestepped a controversy in Hollywood regarding the revocation of an Oscar nomination for a song featured in a Christian-produced motion picture titled Alone Yet Not Alone. Academy officials charge it was improperly promoted
But apparently not every liberal media outlet is ignoring the story. Some, like the Daily Beast are covering it in order to revel in the news and to smear the folks who produced the film.
The day after President Obama issued a call for bipartisan cooperation in Congress in his fifth State of the Union address, a powerful Democratic senator thumbed his nose at the White House regarding a matter enjoying significant bipartisan support and which could help boost the U.S. economy.
But perhaps because it doesn't fit the "Republicans are obstructionists" narrative, ABC, CBS, and NBC all ignored Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announcing his strong opposition to President Obama's call for Congress extending him fast-track negotiations on free-trade agreements.
Some 47 percent of uninsured Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 are now unfavorable towards ObamaCare, the highest negative marks among that demographic since May 2012, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That number could be considerably higher as the margin of error is plus/minus 8 percentage points.
Nevertheless, reporting on the newly-released Kaiser survey, the Washington Post's Sandhya Somashekhar buried those statistics towards the end of her 11-paragraph page A4 story, while spinning the news as largely a PR challenge for the Obama administration and ObamaCare backers on the Left (emphasis mine):
Philip Rucker and Scott Clement sure are "Ready for Hillary." The Washington Post scribes dutifully pounded out a January 30 front-pager that furthers the Hillary-is-inevitable meme discernible throughout the liberal media. "Clinton holds big Democratic lead" thunders the print headline, with a subhead noting she enjoys "strong support in all demographics" while the "GOP field shows no clear front-runner."
Nowhere in their 25-paragraph story was the term "Benghazi" used -- indeed, it was also not referenced in the Post/ABC poll, while Bridgegate was -- although clearly it is the former secretary of state's blackest mark on her record. By contrast, potential GOP opponent Chris Christie was depicted as critically if not mortally wounded by the bridge-lane-closure scandal, while opponents to his right were dismissed as unlikely to beat Hillary (emphasis mine):
"[I]t’s important to remember that [Pete] Seeger, once an avowed Stalinist, was a political singer devoted to a sinister political system--a position he held long after the Soviet experiment drenched itself in blood and collapsed in ignominy."
With lines like that, the Daily Beast's Michael Moynihan might find himself crossed off a few Christmas card lists and curiously uninvited to some cocktail parties. And yet, things like that must be said. Kudos to Moynihan for recounting these inconvenient truths in "The Death of 'Stalin's Songbird'":
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
In her January 28 story, "House passes abortion insurance restriction," MSNBC.com's Irin Carmon quoted from just one Republican who voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and yet found three male Democratic congressmen and one female Democratic congresswoman to slam the measure:
He has a lifetime American Conservative Union (ACU) score of 12.5 (his lowest marks were in 2011 with a score of 5), a 100 percent rating by the NARAL Pro-Choice America, a zero rating from the National Right to Life, and a solid 85 percent in 2012 (the last year the ADA scored) from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. With numbers like that, Virginia's senior senator Mark Warner (D) may be a rather plain vanilla legislator when it comes to rhetoric and demeanor -- he's no bombastic camera mugger like say Chuck Schumer -- but he is far from a political moderate on either economic or social issues.
Yet in reporting on Republican senator John Warner (no relation) endorsing the former governor's 2014 reelection bid instead of getting behind former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie's bid for the seat, the Associated Press's Larry O'Dell described Mark Warner as a "centrist" and uncritically forwarded the meme that both Warners exemplify the sort of bipartisan collegiality that is missing in Washington today but which Americans and Virginians particularly long for (emphasis mine):
As I noted last week, when the Washington Post in mid-October issued their endorsement of Democrat Mark Herring for Virginia attorney general, the paper's editorial board hailed the then-state senator as someone who, unlike his "doctrinaire conservative" opponent Mark Obenshain and predecessor conservative Ken Cuccinelli would "hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" for the state government. After all, the attorney general is responsible for managing the "office that functions as the law firm for the governor, legislature and agencies of state government" and as such should be above ideological or partisan hobby horses, the paper argued.
Fast forward to last week. Herring, on the job barely two weeks as Virginia attorney general, announces he will not only refuse to defend the state's constitutional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman but that his office will file a brief in federal court arguing that the state's definition of marriage violates the U.S. Constitution. Feeling the need to defend their man Herring from charges by Republicans that the AG is not only shirking his duty, but flaunting his intention to do so, the Post editorial rides out to the rescue with a six-paragraph defense of his "strategy," excerpted in full below (emphasis mine):
On Friday, January 17, President Obama unveiled the rough outlines of his plan to modify but maintain the National Security Administration's ability to collect telephony metadata from American civilians. For its part on the front page the following morning, The Washington Post exulted that "Obama moves to rein in surveillance" as he "[o]rders limits on phone data." Another front-pager sought to flesh out "A candidate's promises vs. a president's duty," essentially justifying the president's departure from his pre-presidential rhetoric about civil liberties. [see screen capture below page break]
Fast forward to January 23 and scathing report by the congressionally-sanctioned Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, wherein the PCLOB attacked as unconstitutional, illegal, and ineffectual the spying agencies metadata collection program. Post editors opted to place Ellen Nakashima's story on the matter on page A2, pitched in such a way as to practically beg the reader not to dive in. "Obama disagrees with report on NSA," noted the headline, with the subhead adding, "Phone-collection program is legal, administration says." Well, there we have it. Nothing to see here. By contrast, Post editors opted to rake the Bush/Cheney administration over the coals with a front-pager examining "A CIA prison''s secret history in Poland." Staff writer Adam Goldman looked at a CIA "black site" in Poland that was, according to the subheader, "shrouded in mystery, though it cast a long shadow":
Fortunately for Mr. Obama, the president enjoys a liberal news media intent on shielding the president -- and with him his congressional Democratic allies -- as best they can. On Thursday evening, none of the Big Three network evening newscasts even bothered to briefly mention the Moody's downgrade. Likewise none of the Big Three morning news programs thought it worthy of even a brief mention in a news-desk roundup. The New York Times -- motto: All the news that's fit to print -- also ignored the story in its Friday print edition.
Democrat Mark Herring pulled out a squeaker of a win last fall, narrowly besting Republican Mark Obenshain to become Virginia's attorney general. In October, the Washington Post endorsed Herring, then a state senator, insisting that Herring "would hew to the former Virginia tradition of offering restrained and responsible advice" to the governor and state agencies and by refusing to "[turn] the office into a platform for ideological crusades."
He's not even a month into the job, and yet Mr. Herring is set to do just that, announcing yesterday his intention to file a brief in federal court attacking the state's 2006 voter-approved constitutional definition of marriage as an institution consisting of one man and one woman. Although it's a stunning, bold-faced repudiation of his constitutional duty to defend the state constitution, you'd be hard-pressed to get that by reading Post court reporter Robert Barnes's coverage in Thursday's paper (emphasis mine):
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when the content of one's character, not the color of one's skin, was how Americans would evaluate each other. So when NAACP official and African-American clergyman the Rev. William Barber made statements fundamentally violative of the spirit of that dream on the Sunday preceding the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, you'd think it noteworthy for the liberal media. Not so much. At least, not when the target is conservative Sen. Tim Scott.
On Sunday evening at a church in Columbia, South Carolina, the Palmetto State's junior Republican senator was compared to a ventriloquist's dummy by Mr. Barber, who heads up North Carolina's chapter of the civil rights organization. For his part, Washington Post reporter and Post Politics blogger Aaron Blake hacked out a brief entry just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday which simply relayed to readers the controversial remarks, but failed to do any significant follow-up to add anything of value to the story, like say trying to pin down the national NAACP leadership for comment. Blake did, however, add an update which included Sen. Scott's reaction, and it reads as follows:
With his papal audience, Mr. Obama has "an opportunity to highlight the problem of economic inequality, an issue he has placed at the forefront of his second-term agenda" and what's more the visit gives "the president a chance to frame one of his signature domestic issues in largely moral terms." (emphasis mine)
"Without the scandal-engulfed New Jersey governor, Republicans don’t have a candidate who could even come close to the votes needed to win the presidency in 2016," promises the subheader to the left-wing journalist's story. Tomasky made no effort to rise above his naked partisanship nor the smug self-satisfaction of his prognostication of certain electoral doom for the GOP two years from now (emphasis mine):
When a politician -- male or female, liberal or conservative -- writes a memoir*, anything therein is fair game for the news media and his or her opponents, particularly when claims made therein are false or misleading. But to the gang at MSNBC, Republican criticism of the network's anointed golden girl Wendy Davis is beyond the pale.
A small but vocal band of critics has forced an actress to bow out of a stage production purely because of her political views. It's a brand of McCarthyistic bullying that the national media would (rightly) condemn if the politics of principals in the controversy reversed. But don't hold your breath for a firestorm of outrage in the case of Maria Conchita Alonso, a conservative/libertarian Latina actress who has strayed from the liberal reservation by not merely voting for conservative Republicans but cutting a campaign commercial with one.
Duck Dynasty returned to A&E last night with brand new episodes, the first since the row last month about Phil Robertson's comments regarding sin and homosexuality. The reality show, entering its fifth season, had strong numbers, but they were lower than the season 4 debut. That number was all MSNBC needed to seize on to see a moral victory for the gay-rights groups that had pressured A&E to fire Phil Robertson.
"'Duck Dynasty' ratings dip amid anti-gay flap," thundered the teaser headline on the msnbc.com landing page. Clicking the link brings the reader to Morgan Whitaker's January 17 article, "‘Duck Dynasty’ sees ratings drop in season premiere," which begins (emphasis mine):